While Kaizer Chiefs are still waiting to see whether Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro will be fit, Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic joked that his players suddenly don’t have injuries ahead of the Soweto Derby.
Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas are sweating on his two star attackers, with Billiat having picked up a back problem on Zimbabwe Afcon duty last week, while Castro is battling with an ankle issue.
“We have two more days to train and make the decision. These players (Billiat and Castro) are under observation. I don’t know, we wait. They are training with the team,” was all Solinas was prepared to offer on Wednesday at a derby press conference in Johannesburg.
In stark contrast, Micho says things are very different on the Pirates injury front.
“In these types of matches, whatever is paining me is not paining anymore! I’m not injured, I’m ready!
“That has been the attitude since Monday in training, and we want to put the seeds in the training to get the performance that our supporters expect from us,” the Serbian said on Wednesday.
Sredojevic has often stated that he has been to 54 African countries, having coached in many of them too.
But he holds the Soweto Derby close to his heart. “The 164th football story of South Africa. The biggest derby on the continent, the biggest in the world for me. When you have that in mind, it’s a big one,” Sredojevic said.
“The preparation has been going well. You could taste, you could smell, you could feel that we want to do our best on Saturday.
“Having respected opponents in Kaizer Chiefs, this is the 164th game, and that rivalry has been there and pushing both institutions to do their best on the field.
“Regarding Kaizer Chiefs, I can only say we have the highest degree of respect for them. We are blessed to be in these respected positions, because everything is on a temporary basis.”